Sunday Times 4844 by David McLean

11:36. Fairly straightforward from Harry this week. Only one unfamiliar term, mostly straightforward wordplay and definitions. A tidy set of clues though, with some nice surface readings.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*, anagram indicators like this.

1 Greek dancing mostly in this ball
ZORB – ZORBa. One of those transparent plastic balls people run around in. I had no idea about the definition when solving, and put it in from the wordplay, but when I looked it up it did ring a bell.
4 Create lace pantsmanipulate a foot pedal to do it
9 Daily scrapping first section to be less bulky
10 One foreign mug and one foreign genius
EINSTEIN – EIN (one foreign), STEIN (mug).
11 Request to get more reckless in puzzle
12 Think of Republican motion Britain ignored
RECKON – R, bECKON. To ‘motion’ can mean ‘to direct or indicate by a gesture’ (Chambers).
13 Childhood? A period of much delight!
TIME OF ONES LIFE – childhood being an example (indicated by the question mark) of a time of life. You could replace it with ‘adulthood’ and the clue would still work technically, albeit with a much less convincing surface.
16 Harry” Wilson drenches wet aristocrat
20 Endless strike beginning to hamper Unite?
ATTACH – ATTACk, Hamper.
22 German seen after 12 around lake, but not now
24 Dashing sort of star?
25 Flipping quote about me that’ll make you sick
EMETIC – reversal of CITE containing ME.
26 Swimmer with tired-looking Eighties haircut?
GREY MULLET – I wonder when the mullet will come back. Everything does eventually.
27 A Gentile may be head over heels in this
YOGA – reversal of A GOY. &Lit.

2 Go stuff yourself!
OVEREAT – I think this is just a cryptic definition. I can’t see any specific function for the word ‘go’, but I may be missing something.
3 Spot near the centre of Jupiter’s red spot?
BINDI – BIND (awkward situation, spot), jupIter. The red spot worn on the forehead by Indian women. Can also be spelled BINDHI, not to be confused with BHINDI.
4 You might take flight from this awful Romeo, dear
5 Say this before drinking red English port
CHEERIO – CHE (Guevara, red), E, RIO (port).
6 I won’t mix a drink in large shaker ultimately
LONER – L(ONE), shakeR. Think ‘one for the road’.
7 Clerk and “date” unfortunately stopped again in Rugby?
8 Trouble eats into posh sort in decline
14 A woman lacking a right that’s vital
15 Soothing molten rocks? There’s falsity in that!
EMOLLIENT – (MOLTEN)* containing LIE.
17 One likely to thumb their way through tracts?
18 Close envelope containing information written about state
SENEGAL – SEAL containing a reversal of GEN.
19 Staggering sensation removing top for queen
REELING – remove the first letter (top) of FEELING, replace it with R (queen).
21 Description of call from dove loft heard in poem
HAIKU – sounds like ‘high coo’.
23 Poor as a masseuse might be, I’m told
NEEDY – sounds like ‘kneady’, geddit?

24 comments on “Sunday Times 4844 by David McLean”

  1. I live in NZ, the self-proclaimed adventure capital of the world and although I have seen images of Zorbing, I didn’t know what it was called. Apparently the first zorbing site was at Rotorua, about 2/12hrs drive from where I live. Can’t see myself ever participating, though.
    No real COD. LOI was BINDI.
  2. I didn’t get this one either, because I was looking for something cryptic; overeat=stuff oneself, stuff oneself=overeat. The phrase is not in my idiolect, but the less printable 4-letter version is; and in that version–again, in my idiolect–where “X you!” is fine, “X yourself!” isn’t; it requires “Go”. Can those of you who use “stuff” say simply “Stuff yourself!”?
      1. Which would be the function of ‘go’ in the clue, no? Without it–I’d say, pretty much even with it–you’ve got a non-cryptic definition.
        1. In the surface, yes. I can’t see any purpose for it in the cryptic (if you can call it that) reading. It doesn’t necessarily need one, I just thought I might be missing something.
  3. I complied with that instruction at 11A, and biffed OVEREAT, BINDI, and (after a long alpha trawl) the unknown ZORB.

    Didn’t much care for the clueing of HITCHER.

    FOI TIME OF ONES LIFE (schooldays allegedly)
    COD CHINLESS WONDER (reminded me of Python’s Upper Class Twit of the Year)
    TIME 18:00

  4. 45 minutes but the last 15 were spent in the NW corner battling with the unknown ZORB, BINDI and the less than satisfactory clue to OVEREAT (unless, as our blogger suggests, we are missing something). I also think 13ac is a bit feeble, although it didn’t delay me. I can see how ‘through tracts’ works in the surface reading at 17dn but, again unless I’m missing something, it surely has only the most tenuous relevance to a situation where hitch-hiking might be a possibility?

    Edited at 2019-04-07 05:47 am (UTC)

    1. I just took ‘tracts’ (aside from its misleading meaning) to be areas of land, which is indeed what ODE gives. A hitch-hiker would be more likely to be on a road or highway than on, say, a city street, so it seemed fine to me; not very good, mind you, but fine.
      Never having heard of ZORB or BINDI, and never for that matter having seen ‘Zorba’, I threw in the towel.
      1. I thought along the same lines as you re tracts of land but there are vast tracts of land that don’t have roads or highways running through them so I concluded the connection to hitching was tenuous. Re BINDI, I knew exactly what the clue was referring to but couldn’t remember what the red spot was called and I suspect if I’d thought of it I’d have wanted to spell it with an H.
      2. I could see the “hitcher” answer straight away but I still don’t quite get the parsing of tracts. Is it the really devious possibility? Trahere is a latin root of tract, so you have the HER in there! Surely not! Or is it simply a not too exact reference to tracts of land or through-ways being crossed by a hitcher?
        1. In short, no. Going indirectly via Latin wouldn’t be legit, even if it were indicated (which it isn’t), and even then how do you account for the rest of the answer?
          I’m pretty sure that the idea is just that a HITCHER might be travelling through the countryside, and hence through tracts of land.
  5. 39 minutes with LOI BINDI. Sadly, I did come to it via the Bhaji. We’re up at our St Annes place at the moment. Last year they had Zorb water balls on the boating lake. Kids did look as if they were having the TIME OF their LIFE in them. I think I’ll ignore my class prejudices and give COD to YOGA by a short head from CHINLESS WONDER. It’s difficult anyway to play the role of working-class hero when you’re not either, not that it ever stopped John Lennon! I’ve never heard anyone say CHEERIO before drinking. I use ‘Cheers’ more as an e-mail sign-off nowadays. Enjoyable. Thank you K and David.
  6. This took me quite a while and it came down to ZORB, unknown and biffed, and BINDI, where I knew what I was looking for but couldn’t remember the word, so I looked it up. Fun puzzle I thought.
    Followers of The Championship may have noticed that the very promising Harry Wilson scored twice for Derby yesterday; I wonder if he knew he was in a crossword.
    After seeing Tiger Roll win at Cheltenham, I was hoping he might win at Aintree -great performance yesterday. A new Red Rum perhaps, so he may appear in crosswords at some point in the future.
  7. An hour on the dot for this one, so on the tricky side for me. It really didn’t help that I didn’t know what a ZORB was and have never seen (or read) Zorba the Greek. My parents live in Crete, and almost certainly know the film, but it was made ten years before I was born and my knowledge even of current films is pretty sketchy!

    So, LOI 1a ZORB. FOI 9a LEANER, enjoyed 27a YOGA, 11a BEWILDER, but COD goes to the high coo at 21d.

    Edited at 2019-04-07 07:49 am (UTC)

  8. I had all but 1 across and 3 down done in about 16 mins but couldn’t get these two. In the end I went with GOLF and FINDI. I also had YOGI for YOGA.

    I liked “wet aristocrat” as the definition of 16 across but COD goes to YOGA.

  9. I was left with 1a and 3d after something over 30 minutes, and like Jack and David knew exactly what I was looking for at 3d but couldn’t remember it. Without any first letter, the possibilities were too daunting so I googled “spot on Indian lady’s head.” That allowed me to guess ZORB from ZORBA, although I still didn’t know what it was. Liked CHINLESSS WONDER. Wasn’t too impressed with OVEREAT. Enjoyed it overall though. 37:53. Thanks Harry and K.
  10. 34:51 which felt a bit sluggish but there were a few entered with a bit of a shrug and an “I suppose that’s it then” such as time of one’s life, overeat, hitcher and cheerio (do people really say that before they have a drink?). I think what I would call the looseness of the cluing meant I struggled with precise parsing and that added to my time. I’m always reluctant to enter an answer without really seeing how it works. My first thought for 3dn was Tilak but I think that’s slightly different, a linear mark or pendant on the forehead as opposed to a spot or circle. Fortunately was able to remember bindi once I had a couple of checkers.
    1. From memory I think it’s quite common throughout PG Wodehouse’s books. Cheerio Jeeves!
      1. Thanks John. I can now lower my eyebrow from its slightly raised position!
    2. This meaning of CHEERIO is in both Collins and ODO. The latter marks it as ‘dated’, which may explain why it’s unfamiliar to most of us. It certainly is to me.
  11. Thanks David and keriothe
    Felt as if it was quicker, but this took just under the hour after having to check both BINDI and ZORB. Got the parsing wrong for 14 with the wrong woman – went for MAND[Y] A TORY instead of the more correct [A]MANDA TORY.
    Was another who wasn’t entirely convinced of the cd’s at 1d or 17d. Finished with that MANDATORY and CHINLESS WONDER (which I was finally able to untangle the anagram of).
  12. Had an elderly Scottish neighbour back in the 50s who always said “Cheerio”.

    Tom (of Jan and Tom, Toronto)

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